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Random Amazon Review We Like

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July 22nd, 2017 Posted 8:14 am

5.0 out of 5 stars – New character for Spencer Quinn fans, and she is a force of nature! – 7/17/17
M. Freedman on THE RIGHT SIDE:
Wow. I am a huge fan of his Chet and Bernie series, like I am panting (dog reference, get it?) to get the next book. This is a big departure, but when you think about it, character development is a huge strength for Mr. Quinn, and this new character, Leanne, really does jump off the page and grab you by the throat. Could not put it down. Keep challenging yourself, Mr. Quinn, and the rest of us will follow!
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Random Amazon Review We Like

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July 17th, 2017 Posted 8:28 am

5.0 out of 5 stars – Excellent – July 12, 2017.
 
Kindle Customer on THE RIGHT SIDE:
It is such a pleasure to read a well written book. Exquisite. I didn’t want to put it down and I didn’t want it to end but I wanted to know what happened. Such a rare conundrum in this era of editorial – phobia.
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Random Amazon Review We Like

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July 11th, 2017 Posted 9:33 am

5.0 out of 5 stars – Wonderful Story and Character – July 10, 2017.
Fan of Great Characters on THE RIGHT SIDE:
I loved this book. LeAnne was a fresh and compelling character. Reading about her experience only increased my respect for those who serve our country, and as she sorted through the physical and mental challenges she faced, I was cheering for her more and more. I found her journey over the course of the novel to feel honest, but also very satisfying. The other aspects of the book were excellent as well. As those of us who are fans of Mr. Quinn’s other books know, he clearly loves dogs and wonderfully captures their spirit once again. But I also have long felt that Mr. Quinn loves humans as well. I do not have his skill with words, so all I can say is that he captures simple, lovely moments in beautiful ways, compelling me to re-read passages for the sheer pleasure of his prose. I deeply appreciate his care for LeAnne (and the extraordinary Goody) and the journey he has given us as readers. I will always look forward to more books from Mr. Quinn!
TRS Stephen King quote
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Random Amazon Review We Like

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July 5th, 2017 Posted 9:56 am

5.0 out of 5 stars – A different kind of dog story – July 5 2017.
TChris Top 500 reviewer on THE RIGHT SIDE:

Spencer Quinn is justly celebrated for his Chet and Bernie stories, which are light and amusing. The Right Side is dark and serious. About halfway through the book, however, a wonderful dog appears, although the dog isn’t Chet, who narrates the Chet and Bernie books. This dog, like the novel, is dark and serious. But she’s still a dog.

Readers who want a favorite author to write the same book over and over might dislike The Right Side. Readers who admire the ability and courage of a good writer who departs from a successful formula might like The Right Side even more than the Chet and Bernie novels.

Raised by a former Green Beret, LeAnne Hogan knows how to shoot. But she lost her shooting eye on a mission in Afghanistan and she has shrapnel embedded in her brain. Her memory is fuzzy as she recovers in Walter Reed, although she remembers the childhood that shaped her. As she recuperates, she has repeat visits from a psychiatrist and an Army intelligence officer, neither of whom she trusts.

LeAnne was in Afghanistan at the request of a female colonel who wanted her to join a team that would gather intelligence from Afghan women (on the dubious theory that women are more likely to talk to women). During the first third of the novel, LeAnne’s backstory alternates with her present, as she tries to cope with her injuries and memory loss, and with unexpected death, at Walter Reed and in her post-hospitalized life.

LeAnne’s experiences have changed her. Her injury has made it difficult for her to focus and to keep track of time. She’s become something of a bigot with regard to Americans of Middle Eastern ancestry. She’s gruff and short-tempered. She’s developed a sense of entitlement because of her military service and a sense of worthlessness because of her injury. In other words, she’s imperfect. That makes her interesting and realistic.

What happened on the mission that took her eye? LeAnne isn’t sure. The Captain from Army intelligence drops some hints, suggesting that there’s more to the story than LeAnne remembers. He keeps track of LeAnne as the story moves along, leaving the reader to wonder why he’s taking such an interest in her. And since LeAnne’s brain injury makes her a less than reliable narrator, part of the reader’s challenge is deciding whether LeAnne’s perceptions of reality are entirely accurate.

After this set-up, a dog appears. I’ll leave it to the reader to discover how that happens and the almost mythical role that the dog plays in LeAnne’s life, despite her general antipathy to dogs. Suffice it to say, it would be hard for a dog lover not to love this book.

A brief friendship at Walter Reed with a woman named Marci animates the rest of the novel, as LeAnne becomes embroiled in Marci’s past while trying to make sense of her own past and present. Other characters help or hinder Marci, but she would be largely directionless if it weren’t for the dog, who leads her in the directions that only make sense to dogs, but as dog lovers know, those directions often turn out to be the right ones.

Quinn honed his storytelling skills in the Chet and Bernie books, all of which I’ve enjoyed. He knows how to keep the story moving at a good pace without sacrificing characterizations or setting. As LeAnne moves around the country (and Afghanistan), Quinn always establishes a convincing sense of place. His supporting characters are convincing and, given the serious nature of the novel, LeAnne has more depth than Bernie (or Chet, for that matter).

A couple scenes in the book would be difficult to believe if not for the dog’s mythical quality. This is the sort of story that a reader believes because the reader wants to believe it, not because it’s particularly plausible. That Quinn made me believe the unlikely is one reason I loved The Right Side. LeAnne’s character development and the dog story are the other reasons. The twin mysteries (what happened in Afghanistan? what happened to a kid who goes missing midway through the story?) are entertaining enough, but this is a novel I admire for reasons other than the plot.

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